#blogelul — be

mad man

Ad man William Bernbach developed a number of famous campaigns. For our purpose today, his most important is that for Levy’s bakery.

Correction (January 14, 2014): the woman behind the man!

Judy Portas died Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at the age of 91. As the story in the New York Times reports:

As Ms. Protas, a retired advertising executive at Doyle Dane Bernbach who died on Tuesday at 91, well knew, a campaign spent selling rye bread to Jews would be a campaign squandered in preaching to the converted.

“We had a local bread, real Jewish bread, that was sold widely in Brooklyn to Jewish people,” she told The New York Times in 1979. “What we wanted to do was enlarge its public acceptance. Since New York is so mixed ethnically, we decided to spread the good word that way.”

And thus, from Ms. Protas’s largely anonymous pen sprang a slogan — “You don’t have to be Jewish to love Levy’s Real Jewish Rye” — that has far outlived the actual campaign, which began in 1961 and ran through the 1970s.

one of the

one of the “you don’t have to be
jewish…” campaign posters

I’ve not been able to learn exactly when the phrase was first used, but a Google Engram search suggests that the meme took off sometime around 1962 or 1963. After rocketing to stardom the use of the phrase seems to have plateaued by the end of the decade. Nonetheless, when you do a Google search on the phrase now, it takes only a quarter of a second to return over a million references.

[you don't] have to be Jewish - engram

[you don’t] have to be Jewish – engram

let me count the ways

The phrase has been used in many different contexts. These include a comedy album of which there are over 700 clips and variants on YouTube as well as other uses, both commercial:

you don't have to be jewish to love atlantic

you don’t have to be jewish to love atlantic

Date: 1960s
Size: 5.1
Pin Form: straight
Print Method: celluloid
Text YOU DON’T
HAVE TO BE
JEWISH
TO LOVE
ATLANTIC

and political:

you don't have to be jewish to vote for gore/lieberman

you don’t have to be jewish to vote for gore/lieberman

Date: 2000
Size (3 variants): 3.2, 5.5, 8.7
Pin Form: [straight] clasp
Print Method: celluloid
Text YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE JEWISH
TO VOTE FOR
JOE LIEBERMAN —— AL GORE
for Vice President —— for President
2000
AMERICA’S TEAM

and more personally (and seasonally timely, because the Hurvitz family produced a leaflet we distributed at Yom Kippur services in Los Angeles in 1966) political:

you don't have to be jewish to oppose the war in vietnam

you don’t have to be jewish to oppose the war in vietnam

Date: 1960s
Size: 3.5
Pin Form: straight clasp
Print Method: celluloid
Text YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE
JEWISH
TO OPPOSE
THE
WAR IN VIETNAM

extending (or paraphrasing) hillel

So, while you don’t have to be Jewish…

…if not you, who?

And, if not now, when?


on “do” and “be”

My colleague and friend Phyllis Sommer who initiated and set the prompts for #BlogElul may not have considered the special nature of the sequence.

There are a couple of places on the Web that explore the “progressive” relationship of “do” and “be”:

  • Henning Schürig shared this in June of 2006:
    • To be or not to be. – Shakespeare
    • To do is to be. – Nietzsche
    • To be is to do. – Sartre
    • Do be do be do. – Sinatra
  • A variant appears at the English Language and Usage pages of Stack Exchange
    • To be is to do. —Socrates [Odd, did Sartre plagiarize Socrates?]
    • To do is to be. —Plato [And, did Nietzsche plagiarize Plato?]
    • Do-be-do-be-do. —Sinatra

We do not have Socrates, Plato, Nietzsche, nor Sartre speaking their wisdom in their own voices, however, we do have Sinatra. While it may seem a bit odd, Frank sings of appropriate concerns at this time of year: of face to face communications as well as of “doing” and “being”. Pay special attention at minute 2:17.

your lapel buttons

Many people have lapel buttons. They may be attached to a favorite hat or jacket you no longer wear, or poked into a cork-board on your wall. If you have any laying around that you do not feel emotionally attached to, please let me know. I preserve these for the Jewish people. At some point they will all go to an appropriate museum. You can see all the buttons shared to date.

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